In wake of Trump election, MN campuses and churches mull 'sanctuary' status

Protections for immigrants living in the country illegally have been discussed since last month's election.
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The election of Donald Trump has raised deportation fears among the millions of people living in America illegally.

One of Trump's pre-election pledges was bringing about the end of "sanctuary cities" by withholding federal funding from cities that have the designation – which stipulates that police officers will not initiate action with someone for the sole purpose of finding out their immigration status.

Cities including Minneapolis have stated their intention to keep their sanctuary status even against the wishes of the current President-elect, and now other organizations are considering similar pledges.

Given its history as a place of safety, it's perhaps not surprise that state churches are among those leading the way, with the Pioneer Press reporting last week that leaders of 30 congregations joined to announced that 13 churches across Minnesota would open their doors to immigrants – even if they're sought by law enforcement.

A further 20 churches, which are all members of the ISAIAH faith-based coalition of "racial and social justice advocates" based in St. Paul, are discussing whether to join the new Sanctuary network or provide other forms of support, the newspaper notes.

College campuses have been having similar discussions.

The MN Daily reports that a petition has been circulated in recent weeks at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus calling on university leaders to designate it a "sanctuary campus."

Similar petitions have been submitted at campuses around the country, which would give students living in the country illegally some protections while they take classes.

On Friday, around 30 students interrupted a Board of Regents meeting to cite grievances against U President Eric Kaler, and among their demands was he show unconditional support for the sanctuary campus request, the Daily writes.

The Star Tribune reports similar requests were made at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University in Collegeville, but these were rejected on Friday.

Presidents Michael Hemesath and Mary Hinton said they support the principle behind the petition, but said they have "no legal ability to set ourselves apart from the laws of our state and federal government."

They said this could also affect their federal and state funding.

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